Blog :: 04-2011

From For Sale by Owner to Realtor to SOLD!

"As a first-time home seller, The Alvarado Group excelled at reassuring us, keeping us updated of progress, and responding to our concerns in a quick and thorough manner. My only regret is not getting them involved in the process earlier. Our condo sold quickly in a tough market, and Sara Alvarado was never afraid to bring a dose of reality to our expectations (a key to being able to sell in this market). We attempted to sell For Sale by Owner, but without the necessary knowledge of the housing market, our price was off, and our time was compromised with attempting a quick move as well. When Sara took over, so much of the mental stress was lifted as well. All documents were signed electronically, which was imperative since our move out-of-state, and the process couldn't have been smoother. Thanks, Sara, for all your work on our behalf."

Beautiful end unit condo at Hatchery Hill in Fitchburg is now SOLD! Congratulations to the new Buyers and to the Sellers on a successful and a quick closing. With an accepted offer in the first week of April we were still able to close at the end of the month with less than 30 days! Thanks to Christa Sweeny at River Valley Bank for helping to make it happen.

5460 Coachman Place - Listed for $179,900. 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 1760 sq. feet townhouse. Sold in 65 days for $170,700.

Looking for a condo in Fitchburg or somewhere else in the Dane County area? Looking to sell your home or condo? Call our team today! You can meet us all here.

445 N. Few Street - Madison Near East Home for Sale

445 N. Few St. Madison WI Home For Sale

The hardest decision about this house will be whether to hang out on the front porch or the back porch - they are both perfect spots! Or if digging in the dirt is your thing you'll love the gorgeous and fenced back yard, deck and outbuilding (this was once a garage back in the day) that would make a beautiful studio. Home layout features 2 bedrooms upstairs and 1 bedroom on main floor (currently TV room) with an updated half bath. The kitchen has been remodeled and even though it isn't a huge kitchen it has great efficiency, updated cabinets and an open spacious feel to the dining and living areas and conveniently located right at the back door to the back porch. Just one block to Tenney Park and the Beach and a quick bus trip to UW Campus and downtown. The Tenny Lapham neighborhood is one of the sweet spots in Madison.

445 N. Few Street Property Features & Updates

  • Exterior painted in 2009
  • New insulated front door in 2009
  • New roof in 2008
  • New disposal in 2008
  • New high-efficiency boiler in 2006
  • New water heater in 2006
  • Original (refinished) hardwood floors throughout
  • New dishwasher, kitchen sink and faucet in 2005
  • Tile countertops in kitchen
  • Covered front and back porch, plus huge deck in large fenced backyard
  • Storage building is insulated and has electricity

 Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Information

  • More neighborhood information - click here
  • 3 blocks from Tenney Park and Beach, a great city park offering year-round activities.
  • Walk to neighborhood shops and restaurants
  • Walk to Lapham Elementary School
  • 5 blocks away from the Capital City Bike Trail
  • Eastside Farmers' Market
  • 11 blocks to the Capital
  • 1 block from bus line

 Madison School District Information for 445 N. Few Street

Sara Alvarado, Real Estate Broker / OwnerThis home is marketed by Sara Alvarado, Broker - The Alvarado Real Estate Group. For a showing of this home or to discuss selling your home, please contact Sara at 608.438.5005, or

Bike Madison Spring Fair 2011

Family and friends cycling in Madison WIIt's the Spring Bike Fair in Madison WI!

Sunday May 1st, 2011, 11am - 3pm Wright Middle School, 1717 Fish Hatchery Road

Celebrate the return of spring and the promise of many fun-filled days of biking by participating in the first annual Bike Madison Spring Fair. The Bike Madison Spring Fair is an opportunity to get ready for spring by learning or refreshing your skills with workshops such as Bike Maintenance 101, Bike Commuter 101 and many more.

The Bike Madison Spring Fair will feature MSCR kids activities, a chance to try out Metro Transit's Rack-n-Roll program, Madison Police Department Bike Tours. The Bike Spring Madison Fair is a FREE family event.

Information provided by the City of Madison - Spring Fair website. For more resources and information about Biking in the Madison area click here.

Bike Madison Spring Fair Activities Include:

  • Madison School Community Recreation Family Fun Activities - All Day!
  • Madison Police Department South District Bike Tours at 1p.m. and 2 p.m.: Each ride will be approximately 45 minutes long. You will be required to wear a helmet to participate in the ride.
  • Planet Trek Dane County information and Bike Tour at 1:00p.m.: Information and maps will be available for Planet Trek Dane County, a scale model of the solar system along the bike path from Monona Terrace to Mt. Horeb. We will also have a group ride leaving at 1:00 to make a loop from the Sun (Monona Terrace) to Jupiter and back to Wright Middle School.
  • Metro Transit Rack-n-Roll Program: Learn how to use the bike racks before you travel. Ask questions and practice on a Metro bike rack.
  • Bicycle Registration: A Four-Year Bicycle Registration costs only $10.00 and is a good way to help protect your important means of transportation, recreation and exercise!
  • Madison Police Hula Hoop Making: Who doesn't like a hula hoop? Madison Police Officers will be on hand to help you make your very own hula hoop.
  • City bike initiatives: The City's Bike Madison staff will share the exciting bike planning initiatives occurring in Madison. Pick up a 2011 Bike Map.
  • Local bike advocacy groups: 20by2020, Wheels for Winners, Freewheel, and the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin will be on hand to talk about their programs and events.
  • Transporting children by bike demo by Williamson Bicycle Works: Children of pre-cycling age will still love traveling by bicycle - there are different solutions for different ages.Brought to you by: City of Madison Bike Madison Program, MSCR, Madison Police Department, Metro Transit, UW Space Place, 20by2020, Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, Williamson Bicycle Works

JUST SOLD! Middleton WI Home, Northlake Neighborhood

5502 Grassland Trail, Middleton WI

This gorgeous Northlake home in Middleton just sold and we are excited to report another successful and smooth transaction. 5502 Grassland Trail, listed in February for $449,900 had a total of 4 showings and sold after 15 days for $425,000.  

The Sellers did their part in making sure the home was in perfect showing condition. They made necessary repairs, cleaned the carpet, decluttered, packed and stored personal items and made sure they were listing their home to sell it and not just to test the market. There is great power in the intention to move and in a time of fear and uncertainity it is easy for some families to doubt their ability to sell their homes and have everything work out exactly the way it is supposed. This was a great example of the power of intention, positive thinking and a certain amount of calm in what can be an incredibly stressful time.

Sara Alvarado, Real Estate Broker / OwnerIf you are thinking of selling your home, contact Sara Alvarado to talk about the possibilities, 608.438.5005,

3414 Valley Ridge Road #5 - Middleton Condo For Sale

Valley Ridge condo, Middleton WI

Immaculate two bedroom condo in Middleton overlooking the conservancy and presented by Alvarado Real Estate Group. You'll love the open layout of the spacious living room with a huge sliding glass door (windows replaced in 2010) featuring gorgeous views of trees and landscape. The kitchen was recently updated with new refrigerator, stove/oven and maple cabinets, countertops and fixtures. The master suite will surprise you with 2 huge closets and master bath. Other features include: front loading washer/dryer, parking space in heated garage, and extra storage.

  • 2 BR, 2 BA, 1145 Sq. Ft.
  • 2nd floor garden style condo
  • Heated underground parking included
  • For the most current price & more photos, visit Alvarado Group MLS Data page.

Middleton Condo Property Features

  • New windows in living room and second bedroom in 2010
  • Update of light fixtures completed in 2010
  • New roof in 2007
  • Kitchen update in 2006 includes:
    • New sink & faucet
    • New cabinets and countertops
    • New light fixtures
    • New Stove and Refrigerator
  • New washer and dryer in 2006
  • New disposal in 2004

Orchid Heights Neighborhood Features in Middleton WI

  • Adjacent to beautiful Pheasant Brach Conservancy
  • Walking distance to several neighborhood parks
  • Walk to Harbor Athletic Club
  • Close to numerous restaurants and shops
  • 4 blocks from Lake Mendota
  • Easy access to Beltline, downtown Madison and UW

Middleton-Cross Plains Schools for 3414 Valley Ridge Road #5

  • Northside Elementary School
  • Kromrey Middle School
  • Middleton High School

Sara Alvarado, Real Estate Broker / OwnerThis property marketed by Sara Alvarado, Broker - The Alvarado Real Estate Group. For a showing of this unit, please contact Sara at 608.438.5005, Thank you.

1150 Williamson Street #102 - Condo for sale

1150 Williamson St condo for sale

Open, bright, beautifully designed condo in the heart of the Willy Street neighborhood. Enjoy the double sided fireplace (living room to master) with custom natural slate tile surround and a walkthrough bathroom, bamboo floors, huge windows that bring in lots of light, custom wood shades, a private patio and lots of storage! Unlike many condos in the area this unit has 2 underground parking spaces in the heated garage. Stainless steel appliances, ceiling fans, pets allowed...there is so much to love!

  • 1 bedroom, 1 Bath 
  • 1027 Sq. Ft. Garden Condo
  • 2 underground parking spaces
  • For the current price and more photos visit the Alvarado Group MLS data page

Third Lake Lofts Condo Features & Updates

  • New low-flow toilet in 2010
  • New bamboo interlocked Eco flooring in living area and hallway in 2007
  • New bedroom carpeting in 2006
  • New natural slate custom tile fireplace surround in 2006
  • 2-sided gas fireplace in living room / master bedroom
  • Cork flooring in kitchen
  • Custom wood blinds
  • Includes 2 parking stalls (#5 and #6)
  • Includes 1 storage unit (#3)
  • The condo association allows dogs

Willy Street Neighborhood Information

The Williamson Street -Marquette area ("Willy Street" as residents call it) is perhaps Madison's most thoroughly walkable and funky neighborhood. Less than a mile from downtown, Willy Street blends an eclectic mix of historic homes, unique stores and wonderful restaurants and bars, all within walking distance of Lake Monona, the Yahara River and its anchor, the Willy St. Grocery Cooperative. But beyond the lively businesses, natural features, and stately architecture, is a diverse group of residents drawn together by their desire to live in a neighborhood that values community.

  • Walking distance to BB Clark Beach, Orton Park, Capitol Square, Willy Street Coop, many restaurants and local shopping, coffee shops and art galleries                                                                                                                                                                                
  • Close to Capital City Bike Trail and on bus line
  • Walk score of 92 (very good)

Sara Alvarado, Real Estate Broker / OwnerThis property marketed by Sara Alvarado, Broker - The Alvarado Real Estate Group. For a showing of this unit, please contact Sara at 608.438.5005, Thank you.

Alvarado Group's Spring Update

Madison Area Market Update

The spring real estate market is here and even though the trees are still bare, it is warming up nicely, offers are being put together and there is optimism in the air. This is the first year (of the past two) that we haven't had a tax credit out there to "jump start" the market. Now we know the market is moving at a pace that is driven by the consumer and not by a deadline from the government. Are we moving in an upward direction? No, not yet - we are steady and flat. In fact prices dropped in the first quarter of 2011 compared to 2010. But number of sales were the same. We are still chugging through interesting real estate times. If you love MLS data and area stats you can find more 1st quarter market data here. If you are thinking of buyer or selling this spring - contact us!   

Stay up to date with our most recent listings, click here and sit back for some fun house shopping. Or pass the link on to friends you know that are thinking of buying. Our website has the best mls search capabilities out there.

Upcoming Events

Come visit with us at Isthmus Green Day at Monona Terrace all day Saturday, April 16th, from 9-5pm. We'll have balloons for the kids and a drawing for a Rain Barrel. If you can't make it on Saturday you can connect with us on facebook!

Farmers' Market downtown Madison starts on Saturday! We have an info packed blog post with the Madison area Farmer's Market schedule for all the great local markets offered during the week. It is fun to make the Capitol Square farmers' market a family outing but the reality is that to sustain your family's local eating habits it is important to have a place close to home that is convenient and easy for you. Thankfully Madison offers markets all over town!


Congratulations to New Homeowners Todd on Thorp St., Brandon on Steensland Dr., Chris on La Crosse Ln, John and Lauren on Hillside Circle, Tim and Melissa on Velvet Leaf Dr., Sue and Jenna on Quinn Circle, Sara and JC on Derby Down, Justin and Catie on Eggum Ct, and Mike and Heather on Sunflower Dr. We hope you LOVE your new home and your new neighbors.

Living and Working in Gratitude (Locally of course!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you to our friends and past clients that continue to refer your friends, neighbors and family. It is what keeps our business strong and successful. Thank you for supporting our local, independent business. We also make sure we work with other local businesses too and one of our favorite resources is through Dane Buy Local. They have a great online directory!

Your neighborhood Realtor friends, Sara & Carlos Alvarado, Kathryn Wunnicke, Julie Campbell, Darcy Haber, Robert Grether and Eric Turnquist Alvarado Real Estate Group | 608.251.6600 | |

MLS Stats for Madison WI Proper, 1st Quarter 2011

Madison Area Market Data 1st Quarter 2011,  1/1/2011 - 3/31/11 Source: SCWMLS, Madison Proper

Madison Proper Single Family Home Statistics

Average Sale Price: $241,656

Homes for Sale: 1,460

Homes Sold: 332

Average Days on Market: 100

Madison Proper Condo Statistics

Average Sale Price: $194,389

Condos for Sale: 1,103

Condos Sold: 116

Average Days on Market: 188

Dane County Market Update:

Year-to-date, Dane County home sales are behind the first quarter of 2010 but are 7% ahead of the first quarter of 2009. Median prices have remained rather steady over this time period: $203,712 (2011); 200,000 (2010) and $203,000 (2009).

In breaking down the March figures for Dane County between single family homes and condominiums, this year's single family sales (255) trail both 2010 (294) and 2009 (274) totals with the median price ($217,328) very similar to 2010 ($219,950) and 6% ahead of 2009 ($205,087). 

Condominium sales, on the other hand, were 80 in 2011, 86 last year and only 58 in 2009. Median prices have jumped around over this time, from $157,500 in 2011, down to $140,000 in 2010, back to $153,450 in 2009. The most striking statistic is in total active listings - going from 2093 in 2009 to 1393 in 2011 - a 33% reduction over 2 years.

Top 5 Tips for your Home Improvement Projects

As homeowners we must be ready and willing to take on home-improvement projects to keep our homes well maintained and in the best condition possible for our own benefit and for re-sale value when we go to sell. In today's Madison WI real estate market you may not be getting your money back on home improvements that you've done in the past couple of years but those updates will help your home sell faster in a market that is best described as a "Price War and Beauty Contest." I have access to many great home-improvement resources. Here are some of my favorite tips from HGTV's Carter Oosterhouse: 

Focus on projects that will pay you back

For example, if you're dealing with hot or cold weather, try to lower heating and cooling bills by properly sealing your home. Look for drafts around windows, doors, and vents,and then use caulk or weather stripping to seal them. It may not be glamorous, but it will pay you back down the road.

Know where to start

If you have never taken on a major project, start with spaces such as the living room, spare bedroom, or the garage -- rooms that won't limit your ability to function, says Oosterhouse. I also recommend working one room at a time so you don't feel overwhelmed with the whole house.

Closet reorganization

Many times, people have maxed out their closet and have no more room to add, let alone organize. That's when it's time to evaluate. Donate clothes you no longer wear to a charity, store seasonal attire in a separate location, and try living by the rule for kid's toys that when a new one comes in the home, an old one has to go out (meaning donate not trash).

Break down a big project

Planning is essential. As Oosterhouse says, if you think you can just start up any big job without a plan, then you are in for a world of frustration. Know your capabilities and limitations. It helps to have a notebook or a binder dedicated for your home where you can keep lists of what you want to do, what you've done (include dates), receipts and warranty paperwork along with contact info for your favorite contractors (or check our list here). This is a great asset when you are ready to sell your home too! It will make it easier for your Realtor to properly market the updates and features of your home to potential buyers.

Know where the biggest ROI is

The improvements that will most add to the value of your home include: the kitchen, the master bedroom and bathroom. These can boost your resale value and attract buyers who want a space that's move-in ready.

These are just some of many great suggestions for tackling home improvement projects. Feel free to contact me for more ideas and please forward this email on to your neighbors and friends that are homeowners too.

Source: Lowe's Creative Ideas magazine, 2010

6 Windy Court - ADA Certified Condo For Sale on Madison's West side

6 Windy Ct Madison WI West side Condo for Sale

Gorgeous upgrades and features in this spacious 3 bedroom condo. The Alvarado Real Estate Group presents 6 Windy Ct on the West side of Madison WI. The main floor features slate tile throughout, open kitchen to living area with gas fireplace and a sunroom surrounded by large windows. New build out in 2004 with wonderful wheel chair accessible features like top of the line elevator, huge bathrooms, closets, beautifully tiled throughout and an easy layout with 2 bedrooms upstairs and a guest bedroom in the lower level, office/den and rec room. The lower level features a legal bedroom (with walkthrough full bath), office area (currently used as a guest room), huge rec room area with gas fireplace and another den area plus great storage. Main floor laundry, ramped garage to home entry. Well decorated with great design touches!

  • 3 BR, 3 BA, 4032 Sq. Ft.
  • Luxury ranch style condo
  • 2-car attached garage
  • Current price and more photos on the Alvarado Group MLS data page.

Windy Ct Condo Upgrades and Features

  • Grand entrance with large foyer
  • Large windows in great room, master suite and kitchen
  • 11-foot ceiling in great room with floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Angular kitchen with large, sunny breakfast nook
  • Granite kitchen counter tops and Sub-Zero appliances
  • Family room wired for surround sound

Wheel chair accessible features

  • Top of the line elevator
  • Large bathrooms, pantry and laundry area
  • Large, lipless roll-in shower
  • Automatic door openers
  • ADA hallways
  • ADA door handles
  • Tile floors throughout
  • Pull-out drawers in cabinets
  • Ramped garage to home entrance

This unit is gorgeous and well laid out for easy access whether you have a wheel chair or not. For a private showing please call us at 608.438.4315 or email